Though I was familiar enough with the Origami Yoda series (and a big enough Star Wars fan) to recommend it to elementary aged children looking for funny, age appropriate books, I had not read any of the books until recently. I’m only halfway through the series right now, having read The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Darth Paper Strikes Back and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee. And, happily, I not only still recommend the series after reading it, but have a desire to read other Tom Angleberger books.
The Origami Yoda series has a quirky, surprisingly realistic portrayal of elementary schools kids, despite the book containing mysticism from a few sets of Star Wars-themed origami. But is the origami really the source of the advice it gives, or is the advice from the oddball creator of the origami? That is the question the books set out to answer.
The first book focuses on the believability of Origami Yoda. The second determines if Origami Yoda is a learning distraction at school worthy of disciplinary action. The third finds mystery in the wisdom of the Fortune Wookiee, but also in the mostly absent creator of the Star Wars origami. Each story has a case file format, and ultimately, a surprising resolution to each conflict.
The series includes a multitude of Star Wars references, including some particularly clever ones that I would never think to have in a story inspired by it. Despite the expected inclusion of Star Wars material, and the influence the Force may or may not have on the advice giving capabilities of origami, the series is more about the kids who interact with the origami than it is about the origami (or Star Wars) itself.
Angleberger finished writing the series a few years ago, so the story is resolved for anyone interested in reading it. There are a lot of laughs, some strong overarching plot lines (some individual to the books, but most that continue throughout the series) and a fun cast of young characters. I struggle to find recent realistic fiction written for children that I can enjoy as an adult, but this series has been a joy to read so far. (I can’t wait to read the rest.)
All Origami Yoda books are available to check out at your local library.